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  1. Member
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    I'm trying to get crystal clear audio for a video series I am making. I am filming with a Canon Vixia HF100 and the built in microphone produces some undesirable background noise. Here is a sample video taken using the built in mic (ignore the sounds of my dog breathing and moving around):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNrVlBhLPD8

    Since the built in mic produces background noise, I tried using a handheld mic which I attached to the camera, but the sound was much quieter and now fantastic quality. Then I tried a cheap lapel mic which has proven to work on my computer, and no sound at all was recorded.

    Any advice you have about how to improve and optimize the sound quality would be greatly appreciated!!

    Thanks,

    Michelle
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  2. Member Soopafresh's Avatar
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    Hi Michelle, that's a very common problem. Camera manufacturers made incredible leaps with HD quality video, and treated the audio as the red haired step child.

    Check out this video. If you have $140, problem solved.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYlhDGrw_eA

    for less money, you can use a good quality wired lavalier (tie clip) mic

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShVLrYpX_Zo&NR=1

    If you're really strapped for cash, Audio Technica ATR-35S is good sounding and is only $22-$25

    http://www.amazon.com/AUDIO-TECHNICA-ATR-35S-Audio-Technica-Microphone/dp/B00006I51V

    Because it's a mono mic, you'll want to get a mono to stereo adapter from Radio Shack for it

    http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2102690

    It's not bad at all. Here's a video review: http://www.vimeo.com/1042009 . You'll get to hear the difference between the on board mic and the ATR35S at around the 2minute mark.
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  3. Member edDV's Avatar
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    You can also rent higher end wireless mics (like Shure or Sennheiser) fairly cheap. Check AV and wedding/event rental supply stores.

    I've had the Azden WMS-Pro shown in the film for over 10 years and it is OK for the money but nothing like the Shure units that sell for around $600-800. I rent these for serious work.
    http://www.provideosound.com/wirelessaudio.html

    The wired Sony ECM's can also be rented.

    You'll need to rent or buy one of these to match the XLR cable mics.

    http://www.provideosound.com/a96f.html
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    Thanks for your advice!! I just ordered the Audio Technica ATR-35S you recommended from amazon and I am going to get the mono to stereo adapter from radio shack for it. I'll let you know how it goes! Thanks again!

    -Michelle
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  5. Member Soopafresh's Avatar
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    Make sure you install the battery in the right direction on the ATR35S . You'll know if you have it reversed if the sound of the mic is absolutely terrible.
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    I got the new ATR35s mic and tested it out and the sounds quality didn't change much at all. The background noise is still there, just as it was using the camera mic. The lapel mic is being overdriven. Could the lack of a mono/stereo adapter be responsible? And if not, what's the cheapest way to resolve this without having to buy a mixing board?

    Help would be appreciated!! Thanks,

    Michelle
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  7. Member julitomg's Avatar
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    Does your camera have manual audio level?..if you´re still heraring too much ambient sound or noise it could be that it´s in AUTO, the mono/stereo adapter won´t help much except to allow you to record in both channels. As I said before, make sure you´re using your camcorder´s manual audio level control if available.
    I also have an inexpensive Audio Technica lavalier mike and I like it a lot. As most inexpensive microphones it´ll be "noisier" than pro microphones but carefully used is good for most applications. Also the thinner cables are more likely to pick up unwanted noise like clothes´ friction, etc...and to avoid low frecuency buzz or hum make sure the mike´s cable doesn´t run right next or over AC extension cords and that it´s properly spread out (rather than coiled up)
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  8. Member Soopafresh's Avatar
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    Yeah, something is wrong somewhere. We'll figure this out.

    1) make sure you have the battery in the right way.

    2) julitomg is absolutely right about manual audio level. You WANT to set your menu controls in the camera to MANUAL for audio, then try the levels at around 50% for starters. Plug in some headphones so you can hear the volume changes you're making.



    3) Mic placement is important as well
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  9. Member
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    Ok, so first of all, thanks again for all the advice!

    I ran a bunch more tests and I still haven't found a solution to the problem. The battery is in the correct way and the mic cord is not coiled or crossing cords. I tried recording with manual audio recording levels and lowering the levels made volume really low (so the background fuzz was less extreme but I could barely hear my voice, which I don't want), and obviously raising the audio recording level made the background fuzz much louder and more obnoxious. I tried turning the microphone attenuator on and that didn't help either.

    On the highest manual setting I recorded using the built in camera mic, the lapel mic, and a non-powered dynamic handheld mic. The background fuzz noise was noticeable using all three mics, but was the loudest using the built in mic, and softest using the handheld mic.

    Any ideas?!

    By any chance could a dead mic battery contribute to the problem?
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    Here's a link to a video done using the built in camera, just to give an example of the type of background noise I am talking about. It is the same kind of noise no matter what mic is used, just different at volumes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIZN9ckyqUo
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  11. Member Soopafresh's Avatar
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    Michelle, I think it sounds fine. If you really want to get picky about it, your voice is bouncing off the wall facing you and creating a "boxy" sounding reflection. That's called recording in a "live" room. Ever see a recording studio where they put foam up on the walls to deaden the sound? Just for a test, record yourself against a set of closed drapes and listen if it sounds more pleasing to you. I processed a bit of your audio to really make the reflection noticeable . Is this what you don't like?

    background_reflections.mp3

    On the HD version of your vid, you can hear more hiss in the upper frequencies (but only if you really turn up the volume when you're listening). That sound is often due to air movement - heaters, fans, Air Conditioning, computer fans. No room in a normal house is completely silent. Then there's hiss generated by the microphone itself - anything less than a $400 mic is going to have some hiss.

    Questions:

    1) In the video, where is your new lav mic placed ? Do you have it clipped to your shirt? Just for a test, clip it to your shirt at the same level as your pendant.




    2) Are there any electronic devices on in your room as you record - computer, etc ? Is the heat or A/C on ? Turn it all off.


    3) Is your dog in the room ?

    Finally, remember that Content is King. A good portion of your audience is going to be watching your videos on their laptops with the built in speakers. They're interested in the information you're presenting.
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  12. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Michiko280

    Any ideas?!
    Rent a pro mic to see the difference. They might let you test it for free.
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  13. Member
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    I got a mono to stereo adapter for 3$ from Radio Shack and that seems to have fixed the background fuzz sound problem!

    Thanks for all your help!!
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  14. Member
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    This thread has been very enlightening, and it's obvious that you guys know what you're talking about. My issue is sort of on the opposite side of the spectrum. I have the Canon external mic (DM100) and I've been trying to record jazz concerts. The problem is that the dynamic range is too high; I set my audio levels on manual to pick up the quiet singing, but the loud singing gives me clipping in the audio channels and the sound becomes distorted.

    I've tried turning on mic attenuation with no luck. How do you guys deal with a high dynamic audio range? I read somewhere that keeping the mic range on auto will automatically limit audio clipping.

    I've also noticed a strange bug with the HF100: sometimes as I'm first adjusting audio levels, the sound will cut out completely for about 1-2 seconds. This has happened on more than one occasion. It's very disruptive, and I'm scared to use the little knob to adjust levels during a performance as it would ruin the recording.
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  15. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MaureenKitto
    This thread has been very enlightening, and it's obvious that you guys know what you're talking about. My issue is sort of on the opposite side of the spectrum. I have the Canon external mic (DM100) and I've been trying to record jazz concerts. The problem is that the dynamic range is too high; I set my audio levels on manual to pick up the quiet singing, but the loud singing gives me clipping in the audio channels and the sound becomes distorted.

    I've tried turning on mic attenuation with no luck. How do you guys deal with a high dynamic audio range? I read somewhere that keeping the mic range on auto will automatically limit audio clipping.
    The problem with AGC is level pumping. It will raise noise level during quiet passages (also making distant coughs and glassware clinks very loud), then will pump down when things get loud. Problem is it will take time to react so when soft goes quickly loud, there will still be overload until the AGC brings the level down.

    Manual solution? First make sure you are in 16bit mode (max 96dB theoretical dynamic gain*). Set level for loud passages then attempt to pull soft passges out of the noise in post, or invest in a compressor.

    A directional mic helps but the sound system needs to be targeted. If they let you, take a feed off their audio board.

    * pro mics will get at least 75dB.
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  16. Member Soopafresh's Avatar
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    Signal off the mixing board in the club would be the best option by far. Only issue is you're sort of tethered then to the mixing board.
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  17. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Soopafresh
    Signal off the mixing board in the club would be the best option by far. Only issue is you're sort of tethered then to the mixing board.
    You could do wireless.
    Recommends: Kiva.org - Loans that change lives.
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  18. Member Soopafresh's Avatar
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    Indeed. If the mixing board is out of the question, a different camera mic may or may not sound better:

    http://www.vimeo.com/2451215
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    Ah, I see the problem with AGC. you guys are awesome. I've never received responses as fast or comprehensive on a forum before.

    Someone recommended a Zoom H2 for me to plug into the mixing board, or to use standalone if that's not an option. Then I could splice the better audio in with the video in post. The thing is, I have never used a mixing board before. Where am I supposed to plug it in? Is there a pair of RCA plugs labeled "audio out"?

    Another question: How do I get into 16bit mode? I've scoured the Vixia HF100 manual, but can't find an option for this anywhere.

    Also, has anyone else had the problem with the sound cutting out for a few seconds? I would set the level for loud passages (which you can only tell by the performance getting loud) but I'd be worried about the sound cutting out in the middle.
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  20. Member Soopafresh's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MaureenKitto
    Ah, I see the problem with AGC. you guys are awesome. I've never received responses as fast or comprehensive on a forum before.

    Someone recommended a Zoom H2 for me to plug into the mixing board, or to use standalone if that's not an option. Then I could splice the better audio in with the video in post. The thing is, I have never used a mixing board before. Where am I supposed to plug it in? Is there a pair of RCA plugs labeled "audio out"?
    Zoom H2 is a popular recording device. Yes, a mixer will have an RCA or 1/4" line out available which can then plug into your recorder.
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  21. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Pro camcorders and DV format consumer models can record audio as 16 bit PCM (uncompressed). HDV/AVCHD camcorders encode audio to MPeg so probably have a more limited dynamic range.

    Separate recording of the mixer output preserves the original sound quality (without room acoustics) but manual sync to video will be labor intensive especially on tight zooms where lip sync is obvious. For this reason I like to record the mixer board to the camcorder. Mixer output is usually lineor mic level (600 ohm balanced* or unbalanced). In this case you need a low/hi impedance matching transformer to connect to a consumer camcorder. http://store.shure.com/store/shure/en_US/DisplayProductDetailsPage/productID.104215400

    Some boards like the Mackie also have high level (RCA) outputs for cassette/DAT recording. Those can only be used for short cable recording or for feeding a wireless connection.


    *600 ohm balanced (phone jack or XLR) can be fed over hundreds of feet of twisted pair mic cable.
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  22. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MaureenKitto
    Also, has anyone else had the problem with the sound cutting out for a few seconds? I would set the level for loud passages (which you can only tell by the performance getting loud) but I'd be worried about the sound cutting out in the middle.
    This is a problem with weak microprocessors or slow acting DSPs in consumer products. They are designed for set once per scene, not for "riding the gain". You can put a manual mixer in line with your mic.
    http://www.efunctional.com/cam-3.html

    Try to be present for the "sound check" before the performance to set manual gain for the loudest song (no clipping). Use good headphones.
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    I am planning to record live performances as well as interview situations. All the posts provided great information for on body (interview style) situations but is there anything out there that I can use for all situations? I noticed that there is a http://www.amazon.com/Canon-2591B002-Directional-Microphone-Camcorders/dp/B0012ILNK0 but everything I have read notes that the audio performance increases were marginal. Thanks in advance![/url]
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  24. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by chesbrougha
    I am planning to record live performances as well as interview situations. All the posts provided great information for on body (interview style) situations but is there anything out there that I can use for all situations? I noticed that there is a http://www.amazon.com/Canon-2591B002-Directional-Microphone-Camcorders/dp/B0012ILNK0 but everything I have read notes that the audio performance increases were marginal. Thanks in advance![/url]
    You aren't going to get good interview sound with a mic mounted on the camcorder. You need to mic each person (wirless of wired) or use a boom.





    For performance it is best to tap a line or mic level feed off the house mixer.
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    Unfortunatly I am pretty much a one man show. I took a quick look around and found an inexpensive shotgun mic that got good reviews. I think I am going to go with it: http://www.amazon.com/Rode-VideoMic-Directional-Shotgun-Mount/dp/B0007U9SOC
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  26. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by chesbrougha
    Unfortunatly I am pretty much a one man show. I took a quick look around and found an inexpensive shotgun mic that got good reviews. I think I am going to go with it: http://www.amazon.com/Rode-VideoMic-Directional-Shotgun-Mount/dp/B0007U9SOC
    Then mic yourself on one channel and the interviewee on the other channel. That way you can set levels and EQ separately in post.

    If you are going to use a cam mounted shotgun, you need to get in close like 3-4 feet. Get a wide lens adapter.
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  27. Hi,

    May I use a non-batery lavalier stereo microphone with HF100 (like a one in the following link) ? I need the microphone to record speech, no backgorund music.

    http://www.amazon.com/Sony-ECM-CS10-Tie-Clip-Style-Omnidirectional-Microphone/dp/B000246SKU

    Thanks
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  28. Member Soopafresh's Avatar
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    I wouldn't get that specific mic. I'd get this one with a mono to stereo adapter if you're budget conscious.

    http://www.amazon.com/AUDIO-TECHNICA-ATR-35S-Audio-Technica-Microphone/dp/B00006I51V

    An example of the mic in use http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXc9Uo8fbNQ


    The one you linked to isn't powered and I don't know for certain if it'll work with power being supplied from the camera.
    "Quality is cool, but don't forget... Content is King!"
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  29. Thank you very much for your quick reply,

    Are there any battery powered stereo lavalier mics that you can suggest?

    thanks

    Originally Posted by Soopafresh View Post
    I wouldn't get that specific mic. I'd get this one with a mono to stereo adapter if you're budget conscious.

    http://www.amazon.com/AUDIO-TECHNICA-ATR-35S-Audio-Technica-Microphone/dp/B00006I51V


    The one you linked to isn't powered and I don't know for certain if it'll work with power being supplied from the camera.
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  30. Member Soopafresh's Avatar
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    http://www.amazon.com/AUDIO-TECHNICA-ATR-35S-Audio-Technica-Microphone/dp/B00006I51V

    An example of the mic in use http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXc9Uo8fbNQ

    And remember, you'll need a 1/8" mono to stereo adapter. Radio Shack should have them for around $3

    I think this is it http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2102690
    "Quality is cool, but don't forget... Content is King!"
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